WCC Update for January 2nd, 2009

Dear Supporters,

A lot has happened since we last sent you an update.

First, as we had been advised by our MPP to expect, the provincial government reneged on its promise to study alternatives. The Minister of Transportation has ordered Metrolinx to now carry the Environmental Assessment (EA) for ‘Blue 22’. Metrolinx has advised us that there will be ‘consultation’ with the public, but this EA will be the new, shorter version, with no ability to study alternatives, and no ability to appeal any project which causes harm to the socio-economic fabric of Weston.

In anticipation of the decision by the government to abandon its promise to look for alternatives, the Coalition began collecting signatures on a petition, urging the government to make this project work for the citizens of Weston and Toronto by:

  • Making the project into Public Transit, with Public Transit fares,
  • Making the project stop in appropriate places, including Weston,
  • Making the project be underground through Weston, to avoid closing any roads, and
  • Making the project Electric, rather than Diesel.

We collected over 1000 signatures in a very short time, and presented them to the legislature on Dec 11. As our MPP refused to sign it, we asked Conservative MPP Joyce Savoline, and NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo to present the signatures. We are continuing to collect more signatures, and have asked MP Alan Tonks to sign our petition and present it in the House of Commons. To be fair, our MPP did present a ‘statement’ in the legislature on the matter, advising her government that ‘some’ residents had expressed concerns about the proposal, and she has also written to the chair of Metrolinx on the same matter. Her refusal to sign the petition was based on the request that the project be public transit, for which she apparently will not advocate.

Prior to the announcement that Metrolinx would be ‘carrying’ the EA, the undersigned presented a brief to Metrolinx at its monthly meeting in December, urging them to make our four points part of any plan for any Air-Rail-Link. The brief was well received, and one of the directors, Paul Bedford, commented that a diesel train to the airport would be unique in the world, as no other city uses diesel. Toronto would hardly be ‘world class’ with such a link. The Metrolinx Regional Transportation Plan was passed at that meeting. In it, Weston would be part of two upgraded rail services. They propose that the GO service become a 15 Minute service between Brampton and Union, with stops every 2 to 5 kilometres. They proposed that the Air-Rail-Link also have stops and be a 15 minute service. Combined, the two routes will therefore cause a diesel train engine to pass through Weston every two and a half (2.5) minutes, on average. It is therefore vital that these services be buried, and be electric.

We will continue to press for answers to your concerns. There will be a large public meeting called by Metrolinx, sometime early in the new year. We will press for that meeting to be well advertised (the EA regulation only requires that landowners living within 30 Metres be notified) and will let you know of the date and location as soon as we do.

As always, information is available on our website www.westoncommunitycoalition.ca Thanks to new volunteers who have joined the coalition, it has been revamped and is easier to use. It will contain news of new campaigns and notification of any public meetings. Please check regularly.

Mike Sullivan,
Weston Community Coalition